The CSIRO Alumni network, RACI and ATSE are proud to present the 2021 Sir Robert Price lecture.

The lecture series commemorates the achievements of Sir Robert Price who made significant contribution to the growth and development of chemistry in Australia, and to the development of public sector research.

The 2021 lecture is entitled, “The lithium battery: From a dream to domination of energy storage.”

Our speaker will be M. Stanley Whittingham, Professor and Director, NECCES who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2019 for his significant contributions to the development of lithium-ion batteries.

The event will be hosted by Katherine Paroz, CSIRO Executive Director and Dr Adam Best, CSIRO Manufacturing.

The presentation will be followed by an online Q&A session with Prof. Whittingham.

Due to the current Covid-19 restrictions, this will be an online event hosted on Webcast. Once you register, you will receive an email with the link to attend the event.

Event date: 11Mar 2021

Thursday 11 Mar 2021

Online virtual event

  • 10.00 to 11.00 AEDT

Webinar login details will be emailed to registrants

More information


Time Activity
10.00 Welcome and introduction by Katherine Paroz and Dr Adam Best
10.05 Presentation by M. Stanley Whittingham, Professor and Director, NECCES
10.45 Q&A hosted by Dr Adam Best
11.00 Vote of Thanks


Lithium-ion batteries have come from an idea in 1972 to dominate electrochemical energy storage today. They are now in a position to enable the large-scale introduction of renewable energy, as well as electrifying transportation, which will leave a cleaner and more sustainable environment for the next generation. There are ample scientific opportunities to further improve their performance and safety. Today’s cells attain only 25% of their theoretical value. However, as the energy density is increased, the safety tends to be compromised. Examples will include: the soft TiS2 lattice, the layered oxides, LiMO2, and Li2VOPO4, a proof of concept for a two-electron transfer. These opportunities and the technical challenges that need to be overcome will be described in order to open up a discussion.

Our Speakers

   M. Stanley Whittingham, Professor and Director, NECCES

M. Stanley Whittingham, Professor and Director, NECCES

M. Stanley Whittingham is a SUNY distinguished professor of chemistry and materials science and engineering at Binghamton and the 2019 Chemistry Nobel Laureate. He received his BA and D Phil degrees in chemistry from Oxford University, where he is an honorary Fellow of New College. He has been active in Li-batteries since 1971 when he won the Young Author Award of the Electrochemical Society for his work on beta-alumina. In 1972, he joined Exxon and discovered the role of intercalation in battery reactions, which resulted in the first commercial lithium rechargeable batteries that were built by Exxon Enterprises. In 1988 he returned to academia at SUNY Binghamton to initiate a program in materials chemistry. In 2018 he was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering and received the Turnbull Award from MRS. He is a Fellow of the Materials Research Society.

Katherine Paroz, CSIRO Executive Director - People

Katherine Paroz is the Executive sponsor of the CSIRO Alumni network. She has 20+ years’ experience leading senior global human resources teams, across the telecommunications, technology and health sectors. She has particular expertise in talent management and leadership development. Prior to joining CSIRO, Katherine held the role of Group Executive, HR at Healthscope Ltd, a leading private healthcare organisation with 20,000 employees and over $2 billion in revenue. She previously held a range of senior HR & Talent roles at Telstra, including Chief Talent Officer & A/Group Executive, HR. Katherine is a well-known and respected business leader, particularly for leading innovation in the enterprise-wide delivery of best in class People strategies.

   Dr Adam Best

Dr Adam Best, CSIRO Principal Research Scientist

Dr Adam Best received his PhD from Monash University, Australia in 2002 before completing a post-doctoral Fellowship at Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands. Currently, Dr Best is a Principal Research Scientist with the Metal Industries Program of CSIRO Manufacturing. Adam was Co-Chair of the International Battery Association (IBA) meeting held in Brisbane, Australia, in 2014. In 2017, Dr Best was awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Fellowship to study battery electrolytes and how to develop a battery industry in Australia. Adam leads several battery research programs developing novel electrolytes and battery concepts including for next-generation Lithium batteries with a range of Australian and International Companies. Due to Australia’s mineral wealth, Adam is passionate about the opportunities for Australian industry to be part of the global battery value chain and works to connect them locally and globally. Adam is currently the Co-Chair for the International Meeting on Lithium Batteries (IMLB) 2022 in Sydney, Australia.

About the Sir Robert Price lecture series

Sir Robert Price was a great organiser and project developer with the ability to make wide and useful contacts with influential people in associated fields. He made a significant contribution to the growth and development of chemistry in Australia, and to the development of public sector research. He was a great organic chemist and a great man.

After a distinguished career at the University of Adelaide and at Oxford University, he returned to Australia following the Second World War and joined the then CSIR.

He became Chief of the CSIRO Division of Organic Chemistry, then a member and eventually Chairman of the CSIRO Executive. In these roles he displayed great organisational and leadership skills. These were particularly needed during his time as Chairman when major changes in the structure of CSIRO were proposed by the government of the day.

He made major contributions to the discipline of chemistry in Australia particularly through his leadership and redirection of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute and his belief in the need for active interaction between Australian research institutes.

Read more about his life and work:

CSIROpedia biography

Historical Records of Australian Science, 2004, 15, 95-120

Previous lectures